Posted: 6:29 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013
The game many Hokie fans have been clamoring for, and that Vols fans were clamoring for back in the early 2000's (when they had a football team that wasn't completely laughable) is apparently FINALLY happening in 2016 according to a tweet from CBS' Bruce Feldman:
The game, which has been rumored for more than a decade, but held up by red tape at both schools, has finally come together. Despite a fierce rivalry between the fan bases, one that often goes unreported, many Southwest Virginians and Northeast Tennesseans intermingle with one another and have even switched sides in this great quarrel. To explain the breakdown, the area is approximately 50% Hokies and 50% Volunteers. So Bristol, a venue that has a 150,000-plus seats, will sell out quite easily, something they have uncharacteristically struggled with at their races in recent years.
It was believed at one point that the schools did not want to schedule another marquee out of conference game against one another, even when that narrative fell by the wayside for at least one school. Unofficially, the statement was always made that the teams' payouts would not allow them to make as much as they did for a home game. But now it appears that either Bruton Smith, owner of Bristol Motor Speedway, has upped the ante, or that money was never the issue.
The Hokies had an open game for 2016 after Wisconsin backed out of the rescheduling of a series they had already backed out of once before, pushing the series scheduled to begin in 2016 to 2019. The announcement of this game (which is expected to come Monday at a Bristol Motor Speedway press conference according to this Mike Barber tweet) is the fourth such major conference team the Hokies have added to their future schedule this off-season.
#Hokies will announce 2016 matchup with Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway at press conference Monday at the track, source confirms.— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) October 9, 2013
The two teams have played a total of eight times, most recently in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in 2009, where the Hokies dominated the Lane Kiffin-coached Volunteers en route to a 37-14 victory. The only other matchup with Tennessee under Frank Beamer came in 1994, when a freshman named Peyton Manning torched the Hokies secondary for a 45-23 Outback Bowl win. The first game in the series came in 1896. The Vols hold a 5-3 advantage in the series.
It is unclear as of now what point in the season this game will be played. We'll update you with those details, and more, all right here on Gobbler Country. If you should somehow find yourself wanting a Tennessee Volunteers perspective, head on over to our University of Tennessee site, Rocky Top Talk.